European private equity-backed buyout deals have fluctuated greatly in value and number since 2006, with considerably lower figures in the post-Lehman period compared to the boom-era. The value of European buyout deals reached €125bn in 2006 and nearly €130bn in 2007; however this figure fell to just under €50bn in 2008, and subsequently dropped even further, with less than €20bn of buyout deals recorded in the following year. Despite this, investment activity recovered strongly in 2010 as the aggregate value of European buyouts comfortably surpassed €50bn, and 2011 is sure to register a post-Lehman record, with the total value for 2011 to date standing just €100mn short of the 2010 total.
In comparison, the number of European private equity –backed buyout deals has been more resilient. In 2007, the total number of deals exceeded 1000, with around 120 more than in 2006. Although the number of deals fell below 900 in 2008, this represents a decline of just 17% - far less significant than the 62% fall in aggregate value in the same year. The number of European deals fell by 44% in 2009, but again this was lower than the 63% drop in aggregate value, indicating a lower average value of buyout deals over the period. Since 2009, the volume of deals has rebounded, with over 800 deals recorded in 2010 and over 650 in the year to date.
Recent notable European private equity-backed buyouts include Bain Capital and Hellman & Friedman’s acquisition of Securitas Direct. In June 2011, the private equity firms entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the Swedish security company from EQT Partners, in a deal valued at €2.3bn. Another notable deal was announced in May 2011, with AXA Private Equity, Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec and Clayton Dubilier & Rice agreeing to acquire SPIE, a French industrial firm, from PAI Partners. The €2.1bn deal was completed in August 2011.